The most important thing about your pads is that they STAY ON you when skating and playing derby.
Knee pads come with two types of closure- a pull on with a closed neoprene “sleeve”, and a strap-on that has “butterfly” straps. Most high end kneepads come with the butterfly straps- 187 Pro, Rector Fat Boy and TSG Force III. A sleeve type kneepad is often considered “lower profile”, meaning it does not stick out from your leg as far; 187 Fly, Rector Protector and TSG All Terrain, but can have less padding than its more expensive counterparts. It is the skater’s choice to decide between more padding thus less maneuverability, and less padding and more maneuverability.
Did you know that the elastic straps on padding are actually NOT supposed to be pulled as tight as possible when they are new? When a pad is new, it should fit snugly on your arm or leg before you even pull the elastic straps. It is the “sleeve” or butterfly straps that actually determine a proper fit. Once the sleeve or butterfly straps stretch out, then you use the elastic straps to secure them tight enough to stay on. That way your pads last longer, because you haven’t blown all of the elastic out of them right away.
Knee Gaskets: Another way to get more padding for your knees but maintain that low profile is to use knee “gaskets”. They are typically a neoprene sleeve that slides over the leg, providing ligament support and adding another layer of padding for the knee cap. Of course, they can be used under the larger, more padded knee pads as well.
"How do I know if these pads are right for me?" If you get hit really, really hard, and you get up with no major cut, bruise, scrape, injury- they are working for you. Also, if your pads are comfortable, you can move the way you need to when you skate, and YOU feel safe- that’s a thumbs up. Tug on your pads to see if they slide right off. Like your skates, they will only get bigger as you wear them, so try to buy them on the snug side. Get a smaller size from the start, and break them in.
Padded Clothing: Often, a skater will fall in the same spot repeatedly, such as the side of the rear end, or on the outside of the thigh, which causes soft tissue damage that doesn’t have a chance to heal when you keep falling on it. Padded shorts are meant to DISPURSE the impact and prevent major bruising. They are also helpful in preventing injury to the tailbone and hipbones. They are also meant to be compression shorts and should fit snugly.
Care and maintenance: The most effective way to keep your gear from smelling bad, and ensuring that it lasts, is preventative maintenance and care. Don’t leave your gear in your bag or in your car where it is subjected to extreme temperatures. Whether you live in a hot or cold climate- the moisture from your pads and skates is going to condense, rusting the metal parts of your gear, and/ or creating a fabulous environment for mold. Whenever your gear is sweaty (including your helmet), take it out of your bag after practice and at the very least, lay it out to dry. This alone will cut way down on odor. For extra credit, spray it with something antibacterial. Wash your pads regularly with hot water. Be sure to strap all the Velcro shut. You can use regular detergent, but bleach should not be necessary, and it will break down the material the pads are made of. Do not put them in the dryer. Just lay them out to dry.
|Size||Thigh circumference (Knee Pads)|
|Small||14” - 18”|
|Medium||18” - 22”|
|Large||22” - 24”|
|Extra Large||24” - 28”|